He says in frustration, "I never SAID that!" She answers in deeper frustration, "You don't HAVE to."
I sit in thought about the story of the woman who broke her alabaster jar for Jesus. She brought and poured out something of great worth and long-saved value. I have not really been thinking about it in the "give your ALL for Christ" mentality exactly. I think a bit more of our call to love Christ in all our brothers and sisters around us. Now I have to wonder when was the last time I threw all caution to the wind in order to love someone...anyone around me? When was the last time I forgot about proving points or convincing someone of the gospel through words and broke my alabaster jar instead? When was the last time I did not just SAY, "You too are loved by God..." but actually thought it in my heart and then RELATED it to someone?
I also love the response of all the good Christian respectables around the woman. These crazy people! (It's always easy to read a story and call people 'crazy' or 'outrageous' in Biblical stories instead of actually identifying ourselves with them). They see this action as a giant waste...very reckless. When was the last time I did something for someone else, which to everyone else would appear 'reckless' or 'wasteful' (you can waste more than money...like time...possessions...)
For I read this and know Jesus then says, "Leave her alone because people will be telling her story forever because SHE GETS IT!!"
So when was the last time I was reckless!
When is the NEXT time I WILL BE reckless!!
To love someone in spirit IS to love them despite what they do. It sees THROUGH what they do and makes no conditions based on what they do. Basically to love someone in spirit means that we see them as a child of God, blameless before God because of his Grace.
Imagine if I was blameless, never did things wrong and was thus worthy of great friendship from everyone. It would be very easy for you to love me. But that is because I would not have horrible things in your way. I wouldn't have the habits you hate, the struggles you strike out against. I wouldn't do things you hated. Now if you see my habits, my struggles my flawed HUMANITY, it is harder to love me, but you're looking at the wrong thing.
The only reason God loves us unconditionally is because he doesn't even see the things WE base our conditions on. God does not see my habits, struggles and flawed humanity. He sees, "a little child who hasn't been loved enough and who has ceased growing because someone has ceased believing in me." Now if I could love others that way, I love them in spirit because their flesh makes no difference to me. I could care less about their flesh, their struggles, their habits, their hangups and flawed humanity. I love the child who needs someone to believe in him, the spirit who truly is blameless and incased in a flawed human flesh.
When I used to go Perkins in college (Oh how I miss Perkins), I purposefully never saw a waitress as a waitress. I saw her as a person like me, not a person there to take my order, bring my food, end of transaction. She was a person, a child like me who needed someone to believe in her and treat her that way. I loved the Perkins waitress in spirit not flesh, because I did not care that one of them had been divorced 4 times, cussed like a sailor, and had three kids from different men. But I do know that she wept in my arms one night when she was terrified and broken. I loved a waitress in spirit instead of her flesh.
It was so easy to be angry at the legalistic Christians who have no idea what it means to love others as we are called to. I pretty much quit being angry and bitter when I made a guess at WHY they had been so poor at loving. God had called us to love others as we love ourselves.
It appeared to me perhaps we as Christians struggle to love others because we do not actually know how to love ourselves. For so many of us, or I know for me at least, I would not wish on anyone the kind of love I dish out on myself much of the time. So I see Christians in a different light. We suck so much at loving others because we do not know how to love ourselves as Christ sees and loves us.[Tweet That] So the cycle begins.
Now I have been noticing another point in that cycle. That point answers the question, "Why do we struggle to love ourselves?" "Why do Christians have such a horrible time loving themselves and thus loving and accepting others?" Essentially, why ARE we legalistic?
The answer comes from within the question. We are legalistic because we have been hurt by legalism.
I have a hard time loving and accepting others because I have a hard time loving myself, and I have a hard time loving and accepting myself because I do not feel loved and accepted by Christians, and Christians have a hard time loving and accepting me because they have a hard time loving and accepting themselves, and they have a hard time loving and accepting themselves because I, a Christian, have a hard time loving and accepting them. And the cycle of legalism thickens, and I am more a part of it than I ever realized.
Can the cycle be broken? Yes! How?
By loving and accepting myself AND others! By not withholding love and acceptance! The easiest cycle breaker (and hardest personal choice) is to break the cycle at the point of reality and brokeness. I take away the pretense of perfection...of myself. Then I allow the Christians to realize I have no perfection pretense of myself and I am able to have no perfection pretense of them. This will happen when I become more concerned with being honest and acquiring healing instead of appearing fine, okay, good, or dare I say, perfect. It is in my brokenness that legalism cycles are broken. Because then I am able to love others as I love myself, which is loving acceptance of myself despite my failures and mistakes. So when I love and accept others as I do myself, they can love and accept themselves as they are, and then love me and others as they love themselves.
But right now, we DO love others as we love ourselves...legalistically.